John Payne.

Flowers of France: the renaissance period, from Ronsard to Saint-Amant, representative poems of the sixteenth century; online

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Online LibraryJohn PayneFlowers of France: the renaissance period, from Ronsard to Saint-Amant, representative poems of the sixteenth century; → online text (page 7 of 9)
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And soul to wood and lea impart.
Their soft songs quicken my distress
And Philomel's complaints no less
Are trenchant falchions to my heart.

The songbirds verdure seek and bloom;
But I, I seek me but a tomb,
To see my sorrow limited.
Toward the sky they take their flight;
But my unsolaceable spright
Upon obscurity is fed.

The lover in his lady's eyes,
At this sweet time of Spring, espies
A sweeter hope, new-burgeoned, sit.
Her eye, whose absence I lament,
Mine every hope from me hath rent;
I fear and nothing hope from it.


The wild beasts, in this time of change,
The fields, the shores, the forests range,
As Love doth urge them, to and fro;
But the regret, that goadeth me.
Still fiercelier, the more I flee,
Ensueth me, where'er I go.

One seeth now the new-blown rose.
That opens out its leaves and shows
Its vermeil visage to the morn:
Whereas, alack! my paling face,
In my life's April, fades apace.
Of my sun's rays for ever shorn.

Now may one see the yellowing wheat.
Soft-waving, hither, thither beat
In billows by the dulcet breeze;
But I, at heart I have a crew
Of sighs, that in my bosom brew
An hundred thousand stormy seas.

O lovesome childhood of the earth.
Desire's prolific source of birth.
Mother of loves and meadows pied.
Whom all the world unites to greet.
What profits me thy coming sweet,
If winter still with me abide?

Queen of the blossoms and the year.
Still crowned that art with colours clear.
Sweet solace of the minds of men,
Whereassoe'er thy graces be,
Pleasures and pastimes follow thee :
But mine, where hast thou left them, then?


When all the world a-laugh I see,
Then, then, all sad at heart, I flee
Unto some place apart from them.
Like as the widowed turtledove.
Losing her faithful mate and love,
Percheth upon a withered stem.

The sun-rays never on me gleam;
A wandering, solitary dream
Still covers with its veil mine eyes;
Nought do I see but shadows drear;
Funereal dirges but I hear;
Nought but the tomb I love and prize.

France, between parties torn and wried,
At last hath seen war's rage subside
And fall before a pleasant peace.
Alack : Why did I wish for it, *
Since war between my heart and wit
Still fiercelier rages, without cease?

My thoughts still keep within my head
An alien noise, a tempest dread,
And brawl and battle night and day;
But whosoever win the fight.
On me alone the losses light;
'Tis I the cost of all that pay.

How Love tormenteth me, alas!
Ah me ! How quickly joy doth pass !
How constant dolour is and ill !
How swift of turning Fortune's wheel !
How false is hope, how flitting weal !
How subject man to misery still !

It, i. e. peace.


Nay, in this world beneath the sun,
All, as it pleaseth Chance, doth run;
She only queen is here below.
If any Providence there be,
Her residence in heav'n hath she;
Elsewhere men nothing of her know.


One kind look from thine eyes, o cruel goddess mine.

Sweet eyes, my sole delight.
Can bring me back to life and banish the repine,

In death that holds my spright.
Turn those clear suns of thine and with their lively flame

My thread of life reknot:
One only look's enough. Nay, wilt thou not, my dame?

No, marry, thou wilt not.

One amiable word from out thy lips, my fair,

So it be choler-free,
Can change a lover's lot, who pineth in despair

And loveth none but thee.
There needeth but a "Yes," a smile on him conferred.

To glorify his lot.
Heav'ns ! What delays! Wilt thou, then, never speak the word?

No, marry, thou wilt not.

Rock deaf unto my cries, fulfilled of ice and snow,

Soul without love or truth.
When I burned less, thou more humanity didst show

And readier wast to ruth.
Let me then leave to love, from her my thought distract

And turn to otherwhat.
But is it true, my soul, that thus thou e'en wilt act?

No, marry, thou wilt not.



Lovesome Liberty, long-desired,
Where art thou, goddess fair, retired,
A luckless prisoner leaving me?
Turn not from me thy face, alack!
Come back, o Liberty, come back!
Return, o lovesome Liberty!

Too well thine absence makes me feel
That which I had whilere of weal.
What while thou wentest guiding me,
And how I should, had I been wise,
Without more languishment or sighs.
Have lost my life in losing thee.

Since thou hast past from me away,
My soul is mated, night and day.
With thousand thorns of pains and fears;
A fire upon my veins hath caught
And my two eyes, to well-heads wrought,
Do rain down blood, in lieu of tears.

The care that in my breast hath place
Is legible on my sad face;
My colour pale as death is grown;
My back is bended as a bough
And without daring aught avow,
I'm dying of an ill unknown.

Rest, sport, ease, joyance sweet and sooth,
The little care of buxom youth
And pleasures all from me are fled;
Nought likes me now of all their rout
Excepting, lonely and devout,
T'adore the eyes my blood that shed.



Of other subject reck I not;
My hand indites no otherwhat;
There is my service everywhit.
Another road I can not fare;
The little time I otherwhere
Employ for lost I reckon it.

What envious God, what mocking spell,
Hath changed my life, that was so well,
Fulfilling it with woe for me?
And thou, o Freedom so desired,
Where art thou. Goddess mine, retired?
Return, o lovesome Liberty !

The features of a warrior maid,
A heavenly port, in light arrayed,
A mind accomplished in all art.
High-plumed discourse and thought divine,
A thousand virtues, — these, in fine,
The wizards were that won my heart.

Alas, in vain I cry to thee,
O fair, o precious Liberty !
O'er-puissant charms my heart compel.
In vain for thee, in vain I sigh;
Behoveth that "Farewell!" say I;
"Forever, Liberty, farewell!"


Can it be true that I've so much endured whilere
For eyes I see to-day without or joy or pain?
Where are the charms that wove for me so fast a chain?


What of her locks is come, her crispy golden hair ?

Upon her faded face with open mouth I stare,

Whose bloom did her of old inspire with such disdain ;

And in myself I scoff at my pursuit in vain

And render thanks to Time, that loosed me from the snare.

That which no friend's advice, no counsels old or new,

No absence nor rebuffs, availed in me to do.

The course of Time hath done, that put my love to rout

And made me sage at last, healing my spirit's smart.

For, whenas from your face the roses he did out,

The thorns he rooted up, on like wise, from my heart,


Those, who shall read these rhymes, which I with tears
have writ.
For glory nor for ease, but moved of misery.
Seeing the straits through which dire Love hath driven me,
Will, wise at my expense, henceforward flee from it.
What luckless soul, whose pains nor day nor night remit,
Ere suffered ills which might with mine belikened be?
That which may not be thought, how shall I tell it thee
Or paint with words a case which doth confound the wit?
Still stubbornly I wrought at seeking ice in flames.
Softness in diamonds hard and constancy in dames.
Ensuing ruth in hell and sunshine in the night.
My youth in this vain strife I've wasted without boot;
Service I've sown and reaped but sorrow and despite
And of my longsome toils repentance is the fruit.

Let who will fare in quest of honourable shows,
Of treasures and of pomps, of favours little sure,
Of palaces high-built and mansions made to dure.
Mere hives of careful thoughts, of troubles and of woes.
I'd liefer see a mead with lily and with rose


Well carpeted and fed with rills of silver pure

And screened about with trees delectable, for cure

Of thirst and grateful shade, what time the Dogstar glows.

There, from ambition free, I watch my life go by,

Envied of none on earth ; for no one envy I.

King of my every wish, contented with my lot,

With vain and foolish hopes I do not feed my thought;

Fortune against my faith assured availeth nought

And my repose of mind by chance distraught is not.

Cool is this fountain-head, and its soft-welling tide,
Its argent-coloured lymph, to speak of Love do seem;
The tender greensward grows and waxes round the stream
And elm-trees from the heat the place at noontide hide.
The leaves obedient to the amorous breeze abide,
That softly sighs about that pleasaunce of a dream :
Clear in the middle day's the sunshine's flaming beam
And earth beneath the heat is cloven on every side.
O thou that passest by, aweary of the way.
Parched up with thirst and scorched by the hot noontide ray,
Thy footsteps stay thou here, where luck hath guided thee.
Th'agreeable repose shall heal thy weary feet;
The shade and the cool breeze shall do away thy heat
And in the fountain's tide thy thirst extinguished be.


I proffer you these rhymes, that Love enforced me write,
Hot from the fire your eyes. His torches, lit in me.
Not my poor pains to vow to immortality:
My youth for its reward looks not to such a height.
My wishes' limit is to bring before your sight


The variable case of my captivity,

To sing your praises, if entreated well I be,

Your rigours to accuse, if I endure despite.

In vain inventions rich, I will not magnify

My sufferings, my faith, your beauties, your disdain:

Enough that in the road of truth my pen remain.

Marry, for glory's sake my pen I do not ply;

Nay, rather do I voice the clamours of my pain.

As a sick man that pines for death and may not die.


The pleasant time is come again of jocund Spring,
Enforcing in despite the sullen Winter flee;
Under the dulcet breeze, the tender grasses, see.
Already to and fro, Love-fluttered, softly swing.
The woods have ta'en again their verdant covering;
Heav'n laughs, the air is warm, the soft breeze fans the lea.
The nightingale's complaint upon the greenwood tree
Doth to the amorous spright a rapturous languor bring.
Two Godheads, Mars and Love, at once are in the field;
This one his barbed dart and that his sword doth wield;
One bathes in mortals' blood, the other in their tears.
Let who will follow Mars and live and die in arms;
For me, I'll follow Love : my wars and my alarms
Tears and chagrins shall be, sighs, glances, hopes and fears.

O Night, if it be true that thou ordained art
For taking soft repose, how is it, darkling Night,
How is it that in thee my dole knows no respite.
Nay, that through thee my pain still waxeth and my smart?
No otherwhat I do than turn me, part to part;
Each corner do I choose, essaying left and right;
And as it were a sea, a-foam with surges white,
Sad thoughts and sullen cares debate it in my heart,


My weary eyelids oft upon mine eyes I close
And call on sleep to come and heal me of my woes;
But from mine eyes it flees and will not tarry there.
Yet thou, mine only good, my pains so solacest,

bed, to thee I tell the secrets of my breast,

1 who the breath of life dare hardly breathe elsewhere.

In such a cruel case, alack! who languished aye?
In such care-cankered nights, in such unhappy days?
Who ever wandering went in so confused a maze?
Who ever must confess so rigorous a sway?
A present ill I brook and yet a worse foresay;
Wars wax on me and nought I hope of aids or stays;
Goods few and brief I have and great are my affrays;
The more I go, my dole goes waxing with my way.
Afflictions every hour assail me on each hand;
The moon's my only sun and grief my native land;
To wreak I run, from what I seek should fugitive;
Irksome to Gods and men, myself I irk no less;
I'm weary of myself and am mine own distress;
In brief, I cannot die nor either can I live.

What booteth me to see yon blooming plain,
Fulfilled of flowers and shrubs and blossoms new,
To mark the meadows pied with many a hue
And yonder fountains with live silver rain.
But so much water to revive my pain,
Oil for my fire and to my tears 'tis dew.
Since her I see not, absent from whose view.
An hundred deaths a day I die in vain.
Alack ! What booteth me, that from her sight
Far, for my weal, I am, since, day and night,
In me the deadly arrows of her looks


I bear? None other thought my heart may hold;
As he, whom fever keepeth hot and cold,
Forever dreameth of the water-brooks.


If 'tis to love to keep the eyes still bent
To earthward, low to speak and often sigh,
To wander, lonely, dreaming, far and nigh,
Full of a fire that never waxeth faint;
If 'tis to love upon the clouds to paint,
Sow on the waters, to the winds to cry.
The night to look for, when the sun is high,
And seek the sun, when dark is imminent;
If 'tis to love to love oneself no more.
Hate life and welcome death for end of war,
Then in my breast encamped is Love's whole host.
Yet none the less of this I can me boast
That neither fire nor torment nor duresse
Can my desires enforce me to confess.

Those who subjected are to Love's arbitrament
On many a fashion changed become from day to day;
Myself by long approof have learned it, wellaway!
Having on divers wise been changed by his intent.
A hart I've been, since I his law first underwent,
Still bearing in his flank the shaft that did him slay;
Then I became a swan and did my death foresay,
Plaining my piteous fate in tones of soft lament,
Thereafterward a flower with down-drooped head was I;
Then I a spring became, that suddenly ran dry,
By mine eyes having shed what waters were in me;
A salamander now I am and live in flame;
But soon to voice, I hope, like Echo, changed to be,
My lady's beauties still unceasing to acclaim,



WTienas Love first hath brought beneath his pleasant sway
A heart that careful was its liberty to hold,
He taketh him at first in nets of silk and gold
And doth for him the heat of his fierce fires allay.
A thousand little Loves about his footsteps play;
He batheth him in bliss and joy and cheer untold;
Beauty and allegresse and hope his eyes behold,
Still hovering in advance, where'er he takes his way.
But, ah! Well nigh forthright his bliss begins to wane;
The prison waxeth strait, the fire grows hot amain;
The silken fetters turn to iron bonds and greaves:
Love is a sun-kissed rose, new-blown and full of dew,
That flatters lovers' eyes with buxom vermeil hue,
But hides an asp, alack! within its lovesome leaves.

When, you and I, we shall have passed th'infernal stream,
Damn'd, for our several sins, unto the deeps of hell,
I for idolatry, that loved your eyes o'erwell.
You, for my heart you slew with cruelty extreme,
If your fair eyes I see forever on me beam.
Neither the eternal night nor pine unquenchable
My courage shall confound nor all the pains that dwell
In those infernal deeps shall cruel to me seem.
You, too, if pleasure yet you take in your disdains
And in my miseries, still may moderate your pains
With watching me endure the torments of my doom.
But, since, on divers ways, we in this world above
Sinned, you for sheer despite and I for too much love,
I fear they'll sunder us, each in a several room.



Those who, for overgreed or lack of wit to guide,
Aboard a feeble ship, adventure far from land
And run to risk their lives upon a stranger strand,
Urged by a lewd desire, fore'er unsatisfied,
When, by just Neptune's wrath constrained and terrified.
They lose the hope of life and see death near at hand.
For lightening of the ship, each of the trembling band
His chiefest treasure casts upon the roaring tide.
So, when a fair desire I kindled felt in me,
Rejoicing, I embarked upon the amorous sea,
Which covered was with winds and billows in a trice.
To ease my ship, I cast, without demur or fear,
Soul, freedom, overboard, all that to me was dear;
Nor do 1 anywhit regret the sacrifice.

By reason of the years, avengers of my woe,
The gold of your bright locks turn silver I shall see;
The twin suns of your eyes extinguished all shall be
And Love, confounded, thence must turn away and go.
The beauties, that in you to-day so sweetly show.
Shall take their favours back, avouching Time's decree;
Age will your visage pale, that is so bright of blee,
And all the charms despoil, that now I cherish so.
The pride and scorn, which now forbid you to love me,
Will with the years become repentance and unease.
As, day by hurrying day, your charms shall fade and flee;
And peradventure then it will not you misplease
In my rhymes to relive, all hot with love-desire,
Even as the Phoenix life reneweth in the fire.


Poor desolated soul, that must thy dearest part,
Without thine own default, dissevered from thee see,
Sigh not so sore; nay, cease to rail at Fate's decree
And 'midst thy torments show a high undaunted heart.
Bethink thee of this world and its inconstant art,
Which makes our course of life as changeful as the sea.
Belike, after the ills which Fate hath heaped on thee,
It yet with happier chance will salve thee of thy smart.
For, even as the sky, so Fortune changes still;
The sun ensues the night, the heat the cold doth kill;
After the sombre storm, clear weather comes again;
The lover, whiles content, is frantic by and by
And gladness comes anew to the despairful swain:
So all goes changing still beneath the changeful sky.

Sea, whiles which, calm and smooth, arrested in thy bed,
Ebbing and flowing, still dost peaceably abide;
Then, changing all at once the aspect of thy tide,
Displayest but despite and rage unlimited;
Time, Motion's pristine sire, that far'st with tireless tread,
Still measuring the course of heaven far and wide.
And all the world with change, at will, dost override,
Nor is withal a jot of all thy power forsped;
Sun, circling without cease, that metest us the day,
Then mak'st for us the night, taking thy light away,
And to the changing year allottest heat and cold;
So, if my happiness be brief and swift of flight.
Comfort behoveth me take from your changes' sight,
For that the common law it is of Nature old.


O miserable toils, o vagabonding thought.
Continual cares, false hopes, quick raised and fall'n again,


Affections only feigned and over-true disdain,
Remembrance, but too soon by absence put to nought,
Forgetfulness, by love most true and perfect bought,
Adventurous desires, to soar too madly fain.
And you, of my despair ye messengers in vain,
Sighs, to my soul oppressed that air and vantage wrought,
What, shall these living deaths, these durable annoys,
These dark and troubled days, these nights devoid of joys,
Shall they my spirit hold in sadness ever new?
Shall I know never aught of solacement or ease?
Alack! I know not, I; I only know that these
Annoys I suffer but for being over-true.


I wander all alone, with slow and tardy pace,
And measure, still a-dream, the wildest solitude,
Choosing the sylvan haunts, where never men intrude,
The fastnesses unfrayed of any human trace.
This bulwark but I have to fend my woeful case
And my desires to hide from all the curious brood,
Who, seeing from without my sighs and frantic mood.
Judge how the fire must burn withinward of the place.
Henceforward not a wood there is, nor rock nor stone,
River nor plain nor hill, but by my voice hath known
The tenour of my life, from all but them concealed.
Yet but in vain I hide nor may avail to flee
Unto so wild a wild, so deep-envaled a field,
But Love my steps ensues and thither follows me.


Slumber, pacific son of solitary Night,
Fair foster-sire of Life, to whom each creature owes,


By thine enchantments sweet, forgetfulness of woes,

Thou salutary salve of every wounded spright.

Why, God that favourest all, me hast thou in despite?

Why am I, only I, with toils reloaded so.

Whilst her black steeds dank Night doth guide and all below

The moon thy wonted grace enjoy of common right?

Where is thy silence gone? Where is thy rest, thy peace?

Where are thy wide-winged dreams, that, like a cloudy fleece,

Are wont to bear our thoughts toward Oblivion's shore?

brother thou of Death, how hast thou me forgot !

1 cry thee aid; but thou, sleep-drowsed, respondest not;
And I, still waking, burn in midnight's horrors frore.


Sleep, dulcet solace of our eyes.
Beloved thou of earth and skies,
Soft son of Silence and of Night,
That canst our spirits loose and let
Our hearts the cares of Day forget.
Consoling choler and despite.

Approach, desired Sleep ! Alack !
Too long hast thou from us held back.
Already half the night is sped
And yet thy coming I await,
To chase the cares importunate,
Th'unwelcome inmates of my head.

Close thou mine eyes and cause me sleep.
Watch on my bed for thee I keep;
With head against my pillow prest.
Here motionless I lie and calm,
The better to receive thy balm.
That salveth sorrow and unrest.


Nay, haste thee, Slumber languorous!
What is it makes thee tarry thus?
There's nothing here to stir thy peace.
No dogs about this quarter bay;
The cock proclaimeth not the day;
One heareth not the clamorous geese.

A brooklet, flowing hard herenigh,
Goes softly purling, prattling, by:
With its dull murmurous ditty it
And the obscurity of Night,
Most cool and noiseless, thee invite,
To the repose of Nature fit.

All creatures, saving me alone.
Some easance now of trouble own.
By favour of thy spell divine:
All labouring beasts beneath the skies
Now rest in peace, with sleep-sealed eyes;
Open to tears are only mine.

Since thou availest, at thy will.
With ease and solace men to fill,
Whatever sadness in them reign.
Come, prithee, now, thy power to show,
Some solacement on me bestow,
Amiddleward my present pain.

Since thou to us canst represent
The good desired for our content,
However distance-sundered, Sleep,
O gracious Sleep, care-solacer.
Unto mine eyes come picture her
Again, whose absence still I weep!


Her sunny eyes let me re-view,
The vermeil lilies of her hue
And that her high majestic mien:
Her speech once more come let me hear,
'Twixt ecstasy and wonder dear
That held whilere ray heart serene.

The thought of seeing her each day,
Still otherwhen the cheer and stay
Was of my nights, too happy then.
Now that I'm sundered from her sight,
That faded amorous delight
Give rae at least in dreams again.

Though all these dreams, indeed, are nought.
No matter, they content the thought:
Deluded thus I love to be.
Come, hasten, then, to ease my heart.
Brother to Death, folk say, thou art;
Life's father shalt thou be for me.

But I go calling thee, alas!
Whilst, swift of wing,, the night doth pass
And lets the vermeil dawn draw nigh.
O Love, thou tyrant of my breast,
'Tis thou alone that hinderest
The balms of slumber from mine eye.

What wondrous cruelty ! Ah me !
My freedom have I given thee.
My heart, my life and my delight;
And thou, o barbarous one, unfain
Wilt render me, to ease my pain.
One sorry solitary night!




The lovesome violet I love
And pinks and pansies dear I hold,
The vermeil rose; but, all above,
Forsooth, I love the marigold.

Fair flower, that lovedst heretofore
The God who giveth us the day.
Unhappy shall I name thee or
O'er-constant but in loving, say?

The God who changed thee to a flower
Hath not bereft thee of thy will :
Bright weed, thou feelest at this hour
The puissance of his beauty still.

Still, in the splendour of his sight,
Thy languorous countenance doth glow,
And still, when absent is his light,
Thy beauty fadeth evenso.

I love thee, turnsole, sad at heart;
I love thee, blossom of mischance,
For like unto myself thou art
In constancy and sufferance.



The lovesome violet I love
And pinks and pansies dear I hold,
The vermeil rose: but, all above.
Forsooth, I love the marigold.



If, fairest, through thy heart
Anon thou feelest course
The fire of that sweet smart.
That makes us love perforce,
^ On the sward sooth
Come let us take our fill
Of ease, whilst dureth still
The Springtide of our youth.

Or e'er the dulcet day
Of this our age in flight
Be given for a prey
Unto the shades of night,

Let's leisure take
Our life at ease to live
Nor heed to envy give,
But love and merry make.

The sun, indeed, is shorn
Of all his rays at e'en;
Yet, with the break of morn,

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Online LibraryJohn PayneFlowers of France: the renaissance period, from Ronsard to Saint-Amant, representative poems of the sixteenth century; → online text (page 7 of 9)